The team at the Anglican Communion Office at the UN has been strengthened with the appointment of Jillian Abballe as Advocacy Officer and Head of New York Office. Ms Abballe has extensive experience at the United Nations in New York and joins the Anglican Communion from a similar position with the international ecumenical organisation the World Council of Churches; and before that with the United Methodist Church. The Anglican Consultative Council has Special Consultative Status at the UN, enabling Anglican voices from across the Communion to be represented across a wide range of UN forums and agencies. Ms Abballe’s appointment will support a new strategy for the work, under the leadership of the Anglican Communion’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Jack Palmer-White.
The Anglican Communion’s advocacy at the UN is focused around eight priorities: refugees, migration and displacement, statelessness and birth registration, global health; human rights accountability; indigenous rights; women’s rights;, the environment, climate change and sustainable communities; and peace and security.
Jack Palmer White is based at the Anglican Communion Office in London and leads the Communion’s work across the UN’s headquarters in New York, Geneva and Nairobi. Jillian Abballe will be based in New York, leading a small staff team.
“I am delighted to welcome Jillian to the team”, Jack Palmer-White said. “Her appointment comes as a very exciting time for the Anglican Communion’s engagement with the United Nations, and the skills and experience she brings to this work will play a very important part in increasing the Communion’s visibility and credibility with key UN partners.”
The Anglican Communion’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Jack Palmer-White, with Jillian Abballe, Advocacy Officer and Head of New York Office..
Speaking of her new role, Ms Abballe said that she would be seeking to ensure that the experience of grassroots work by Churches throughout the world is understood by world leaders when they discuss the key issues of the day.
“Churches are doing incredible work at the grassroots; usually life-saving work and life-sustaining work,” she said. “And this work is happening before, during, and after crises. It is ongoing. Churches are in communities and will continue to be in communities.
“But our global advocacy is void of meaning if we don’t link it to what communities like Anglican Churches are doing around the world. So to be talking about climate change at an international level and about what structures we need to put in place – that has to be informed by what is going on in the everyday realities of the people most impacted.
“The Anglican Communion has such a diverse community around the world and such a variety of experience and expertise that it would be a missed opportunity if we were not lifting that up.”
She described the advocacy work of the Anglican Communion to the UN as “our opportunity to be able to connect what is happening so that we are informing policies that are happening at the international level. When governments are enacting them or using them as frameworks for their own policies, they can be informed by the experience of Anglicans in other communities that are doing the work and will be most impacted.”
Jillian Abballe was raised in rural north eastern Pennsylvania before moving to the Bronx in New York 10 years ago. She has an undergraduate degree in international political economy and humanitarian affairs; and is currently studying for a Masters Degree in global affairs, with a focus on peace-building and gender.